The AL West: An interim report on front office work

May 25, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Texas Rangers General Manager Chris Young on the field before the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
May 25, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Texas Rangers General Manager Chris Young on the field before the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports /
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GM Perry Minasian (left) with fired manager Joe Maddon. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
GM Perry Minasian (left) with fired manager Joe Maddon. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Los Angeles Angels front office, -4.5

Or two seasons the Minasian’s front office has been laboring to do what his predecessors could not do, namely build a playoff-worthy team around Mike Trout. Things aren’t getting any better.

The Angels execs have made 36 moves since the end of the 2021 season impacting a major league player. That doesn’t count the removal of Joe Maddon as manager in June. But only 13 of those moves have produced positive value, and the team hits the halfway point nine games under .500.

This off-season the big move involved the signing of free agent pitcher Noah Syndergaard, coming off arm trouble that sidelined him for almost all of the past two seasons. But Syndergaard has been an unremarkable 5-7, 3.84 with a modest +0.3 WAA impact.

In fact there is little good to say about any of the Angels’ moves. Here are the five most impactful.

May 8. When Juan Lagares showed little offensive potential last season, the Angels cut him loose. But in May, needing a backup outfielder, Minasian brought Lagares back. Bit players aren’t supposed to be important, but in just 20 games, Lagares managed to undermine the Angels to the tune of a -1.1 WAA. A .183 average.460 OPS and unremarkable defense will do that to you.

Nov. 22. It’s a bad sign when you’ve cut your two most statistically impactful pickups by mid-season. The Angels picked up Tyler Wade from the Yankees for a player to be named, the idea being to use him as a backup jack-of-all-trades. But 67 games and 163 plate appearances into that role, with Wade sitting at .218 and a.544 OPS, the Angels last week designated him for assignment. The final fate of Wade and his -1.0 WAA will be determined in a few days.

Nov. 22. Aaron Loup remains with the Angels, although privately his team may be less-than-enchanted with that fact. Signed as a free agent coming off a superb 2021 with the Mets, Loup has illustrated he volatility of relievers. In 34 appearances he’s 0-2 with a 4.66 ERA and a -0.9 contribution to his new team’s lack of success.

Nov. 3. Alex Cobb was 8-3 with a 3.76 ERA for the Angels in 2021, yet they let him go to free agency. Cobb signed with the Giants, for whom his 4.74 ERA and -0.6 WAA has not been impressive. Give the Angels credit for not competing with San Francisco’s offer of three years and $28 million.

April 8. The final season of Justin Upton’s six-year, $128 million contract ended abruptly just after opening day when the Angels released him and ate the final $28 million. Upton found work with the Mariners, where his experience has included as much time in Triple A Tacoma as with the big club. In Seattle, Upton’s .122 average amounts to a -0.5 WAA, something the Angels are only too happy to avoid.